Work that body! Of the many pressures new mamas face after giving birth, the desire to get back to their pre-baby bod ranks pretty high for many women. New mamas want to get back in shape for more than aesthetic reasons (although that's clearly one motivating factor); moms have a lot of responsibility; they're often taking care of a newborn with very little sleep, and a healthy, strong body is essential. Even the most committed pre-baby gym rats will likely have a hard time making trips to the actual gym or yoga studio a priority, which is why at home workout DVDs are a major life (and butt) saver. Check out five workouts tailored to meet the needs and tastes of different mamas, and tell us: how did you get back in shape post-baby?
Women get pregnant and gain weight. Then they have the baby and have to lose the weight. Celeb moms just seem to do so at an alarmingly quick rate. We read tales of Naomi Watts simply using breastfeeding to get back to her pre-baby weight in a matter of weeks, and Jessica Alba bouncing back in record time. This, however, is not the reality for most women.
European healthcare officials are trying to add some common sense to the conversation about losing the baby weight. For most women it takes three months to a year to lose the weight, and it is important to do so. While breastfeeding can help burn calories and help new moms shed pounds, many new mothers cannot lose weight because they are breastfeeding. The body holds on to excess fat to ensure the mom has enough energy/calories to produce milk for the baby. Common sense tells us it is easier to lose the baby weight if you don't gain excessive amounts while pregnant — there is no real need to eat for two. Since the vast majority of new moms are without a personal trainer, a personal chef, and a nanny — common elements of a celeb's life — losing the baby weight will take some time. Instead of embarking on a crash diet to drop pounds, it is best to eat a healthy and balanced diet, while increasing your fitness level at a reasonable rate. Slow and sustained weight loss is the best approach, and a new mom who is cutting too many calories is a cranky new mom.
I have been posting about celeb moms and their slim down secrets. It is interesting to get a glimpse into the celebrity world, especially if you have dealt with working off the pounds that accompanied your nine month journey to motherhood. I do, however, want to provide a little reality check: these women have resources that regular, normal, non-celeb moms do not. I am talking about nannies, personal chefs, personal trainers as well as a lot of external pressure to "tighten up."
It is not a good idea to go on a severely calorie restricted diet, especially if the new mom is breastfeeding. Cutting back on calories means the loss of significant nutrients for the mother and the baby. For some women, breastfeeding actually can help take off some baby weight. A lactating mom needs at least 1800 – 2000 calories a day. Plus cutting back on food can make a new, sleep deprived mom cranky, and cranky is not what you want to be when facing the unique challenges of tending to a newborn.
Exercise, on the other hand is highly recommended. Not only will it help new moms lose weight, it can help ward off postpartum depression. It is key to remember that exercise should make you feel better not worse, and it always a good idea to check with your OB before beginning a postpartum exercise program, especially if you had a difficult pregnancy, delivery, or a C-section. I highly recommend walking, as a way to begin exercising it is enjoyable for both you and the baby. Get out and go for a stroll.
Fit’s tip: After taking time off from vigorous exercise for nine months, it will take you some time to get back to your pre-pregnancy level of fitness. Start with the level of exercise you did in your third trimester and work you way back, adding elements from your second trimester, and so on. Good Luck!